Doctor Doctor, Gimme the News

July 6, 2020 – I finished the last of my scheduled doctor’s appointment this afternoon – annual physical. Everything was fine according to my internist. I’ve been with this same doctor for perhaps 25 years. He knows as much about my health as I do. After last year’s physical he joked, “You’re the healthiest guy with cancer, who had a heart attack, I’ve ever seen.”

Based on the numbers from this year’s blood tests and urinalysis, I hope that comment remains true.

Appointments, Appointments, Appointments

At least it’s clean.

Because of COVID-19, I waited until June to follow-up with most of my doctors. In the past thirty days, I saw just about everyone: cardiologist, urologist, orthopedist, dermatologist, oncologist (we’ll get to that in a moment), and even the dentist (no cavities!). All of these visits we’re either annual checkups, routine appointments, or quickly scheduled due to an issue that came up. I saw my orthopedist after I over did it with exercise, yard work, and pressure washing the back patio.

Note: The patio’s now clean, but I was in some serious back and muscle pain for about a week.

Metastatic Melanoma
In early June I had my scheduled CT scan and doctor’s appointment at the West Cancer Center. As I mentioned previously (see Status Quo and An Early Christmas Gift), I am now scanned about every six (6) months because my tumors remain stable and (for the most part) unchanged. June’s CT results were pretty much the same. Nothing – in my lungs – has changed.

Now For Something Completely Different
There was, however, something completely unexpected on the scan results. A fairly large mass – about 2 1/2 inches – on or around my right adrenal gland. The adrenal gland sits on top of each kidney. The radiology oncologist called it a heterogeneous mainly low density mass. Basically, it looks like I had some internal bleeding either in or around my adrenal gland.

Between chemotherapy meds, blood thinners (to help keep the stent in my heart working), and everything else I’ve been through, it’s hard to know what caused this mass.

Modern-day Torture Device

You never know what’s
lurking inside.

My oncologist scheduled an MRI to get a better look. If you’ve never had an MRI, it’s very strange and a bit nerve-racking. The MRI machine is claustrophobic and loud. And weird…I swear I could feel the magnetic force going through my midsection. Yuck!

Unfortunately, the MRI didn’t provide any new clues as to what’s going on inside me. The concern is that this blood mass may be hiding a cancerous tumor (or, the mass was caused by a cancerous tumor). The size has not changed, and I’m not in any pain.

At the end of July, I’ll have another CT scan to see if anything’s changed. Then, the doctors and I will figure out what the next steps will be.

Possibly another twist in my melanoma journey. More to come…

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